Do you know what to do if your child drowns? – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

NBC 5 Today continues our swim week coverage to help prevent drownings this summer.

Do you know what to do if a real drowning occurs?

Local drowning prevention leaders want to show parents something they hope families never have to see in person.


The Know Before You Go program at Children’s Health and the Metropolitan Dallas YMCA teamed up to put together a mock drowning experience. It’s not real – they just use a plastic doll, but real paramedics.

They often do this to show exactly what the moments leading up to a drowning and aftermath are like, so parents know what to expect and do everything they can to prevent it.

Click on the video above to watch.

“Drowning is a quick and silent event,” said Jesus Alderete, injury prevention program manager at Children’s Health.

He said drownings can be prevented through supervision and swimming lessons.

“Our data at Children’s Health shows that for 69% of children who drown, an adult was present,” he said. “Parents assume that audio supervision can replace active visual supervision.”

But if a drowning does happen in a swimming pool, he said that if anyone can swim, they should absolutely jump in. But there is a lot to consider in that circumstance.

He warns that if parents can’t swim or aren’t strong swimmers, they could put themselves at risk.

“A drowning victim in distress or in a panic can also easily pull a full-grown adult underwater. And then in those cases you could potentially have two drowning incidents other than one,” Alderete said.

That’s why the phrase “don’t go throw” is an important part of most swim safety programs.

“So we encourage parents to have the right gear in and around the pool, maybe a hook, a pool noodle to get the kid out,” Alderete said.

You should call 911 immediately and CPR should be performed as soon as the person is out of the water. That’s why CPR classes are an important resource to take advantage of.

“It makes the difference between life and death in those situations because it gives those kids oxygen while medical help arrives,” Alderete said.


Swimming lessons can reduce a child’s drowning risk by 88%.

“Let me be clear, even children who can swim are at risk of drowning,” Alderete said. “Lifeguards should always be the parents, especially for children who can’t swim or who are bad swimmers. They should always be within reach.”

This Memorial Day weekend, all Metropolitan Dallas YMCA locations are offering free swim assessments to help families access life-saving resources.

“It will take no more than 15 minutes. If you bring your child, the swimming instructor will help them and their skills in and around the water and then we will also give you advice on how to enroll in swimming lessons, which appropriate classes to enroll in said Myron Barron, director of regional water sports.

The YMCA is also working hard to build its apartment swimming program, which will offer free swimming lessons to apartment complexes in communities that do not have access to such classes.

This summer there are openings for complexes to register.

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